Nuno Álvares Pereira

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The Count of Barcelos,
Ourém and Arraialos
Condestavel-1554.jpg
Constable of Portugal
In office
6 April 1385 1 April 1431
Monarch John I of Portugal
Preceded by Álvaro Pires de Castro
Succeeded by John of Portugal
Lord High Steward
In office
6 April 1385 1 April 1431
Monarch John I of Portugal
Preceded by Garcia Rodrigues de Taborda
Succeeded by Diogo Lopes de Sousa
Personal details
Born24 June 1360 (1360-06-24)
Portugal
Died1 April 1431 (1431-05) (aged 70)
Convent of the Carmelites, Lisbon, Portugal

D. Nuno Álvares Pereira, O. Carm. (Portuguese pronunciation:  [ˈnunu ˈaɫvɐɾɨʃ pɨˈɾɐjɾɐ] ; 24 June 1360 1 April 1431), also spelled Nun'Álvares Pereira, 7th Count of Barcelos , 3rd Count of Ourém and 2nd Count of Arraiolos , was a Portuguese general of great success who had a decisive role in the 1383-1385 Crisis that assured Portugal's independence from Castile. He later became a mystic and was later beatified by Pope Benedict XV, in 1918, and canonised by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.

Carmelites Catholic mendicant religious order

The Order of the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel or Carmelites is a Roman Catholic mendicant religious order founded, probably in the 12th century, on Mount Carmel in the Crusader States, hence the name Carmelites. However, historical records about its origin remain very uncertain. Berthold of Calabria has traditionally been associated with the founding of the order, but few clear records of early Carmelite history have survived.

Count of Barcelos In Portugal

Count of Barcelos is a title of nobility, the first to be granted in Portugal. It was created in 1298 by king Denis I and initially it was a non hereditary title, although most of the holders belonged to the Teles de Menezes family. It was only after the death of the 6th Count, when it was granted to Nuno Álvares Pereira, that the title became hereditary. The 8th Count of Barcelos was created Duke of Braganza in 1442, by his nephew king Afonso V, and his descendants rose to the Portuguese throne after the country regained its independence from Spain in 1640.

Count of Ourém

Count of Ourém is a Portuguese title granted in 1370 by King Fernando I of Portugal, to Dom João Afonso Telo, uncle of Queen Leonor Teles. Later he also became the fourth Count of Barcelos.

Contents

Nuno Álvares Pereira is often referred to as the Saint Constable (Portuguese : Santo Condestável) or as Saint Nuno of Saint Mary (Portuguese : São Nuno de Santa Maria), his religious name.

Portuguese language Romance language that originated in Portugal

Portuguese is a Western Romance language originating in the Iberian Peninsula. It is the sole official language of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola, and São Tomé and Príncipe. It also has co-official language status in East Timor, Equatorial Guinea and Macau in China. As the result of expansion during colonial times, a cultural presence of Portuguese and Portuguese creole speakers are also found in Goa, Daman and Diu in India; in Batticaloa on the east coast of Sri Lanka; in the Indonesian island of Flores; in the Malacca state of Malaysia; and the ABC islands in the Caribbean where Papiamento is spoken, while Cape Verdean Creole is the most widely spoken Portuguese-based Creole. Reintegrationists maintain that Galician is not a separate language, but a dialect of Portuguese. A Portuguese-speaking person or nation is referred to as "Lusophone" (Lusófono).

A religious name is a type of given name bestowed for a religious purpose, and which is generally used in religious contexts. Different types of religious names may be in use among clergy of a religion, as well in some cases among the laity.

Early life

Nun'Alvares Pereira coat of arms Armas pereira.svg
Nun'Álvares Pereira coat of arms

Nuno Álvares Pereira was born on 24 June 1360 in Flor da Rosa, near Crato, central Portugal, the illegitimate son of Dom Álvaro Gonçalves Pereira, Prior of Crato and Iria Gonçalves do Carvalhal. [1] His grandfather was Dom Gonçalo (Gonçalves) Pereira, 97th Archbishop of Braga (1326–1349). He was descended from the oldest Portuguese and Galician nobility. About a year after his birth, the child was legitimized by royal decree and so was able to receive a knightly education typical of the offspring of the noble families of the time. At 13 years of age he became page to Queen Leonor. [1] At age 16, he married Leonor de Alvim, a rich young widow, [1] daughter of João Pires de Alvim and wife Branca Pires Coelho and childless widow of Vasco Gonçalves Barroso. Three children were born to the union, two boys who died early in life, and a girl, Beatrice, who would eventually marry Afonso, first Duke of Bragança, son of King João I. [2]

The Prior of Crato, was the traditional title given to the head of the Order of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem (Hospitaller) in Portugal. It is a reference to the domains of the order around Crato, Portugal.

Archbishop bishop of higher rank in many Christian denominations

In Christianity, an archbishop is a bishop of higher rank or office. In some cases, such as the Lutheran Church of Sweden and the Church of England, the title is borne by the leader of the denomination. Like popes, patriarchs, metropolitans, cardinal bishops, diocesan bishops, and suffragan bishops, archbishops are in the highest of the three traditional orders of bishops, priests, and deacons. An archbishop may be granted the title or ordained as chief pastor of a metropolitan see or another episcopal see to which the title of archbishop is attached.

Braga Municipality in Norte, Portugal

Braga is a city and a municipality in the northwestern Portuguese district of Braga, in the historical and cultural Minho Province. The city has a resident population of 192,494 inhabitants, representing the seventh largest municipality in Portugal. Its area is 183.40 km². Its agglomerated urban area extends from the Cávado River to the Este River. It is the third-largest urban centre in Portugal

Military life

Nuno began military service in 1373, when he was only 13, and helped stop an invasion from Castile. However, according to his own words, his first military campaigns were no more than skirmishes on the borders of Portugal. He was an impetuous and brave young man who soon showed himself to be an excellent leader.

When King Fernando I of Portugal died in 1383, his only heir was Beatrice, married to king John I of Castile. In order to preserve Portuguese independence, the nobles supported the claim of King Fernando's step-brother John, Master of Aviz to the throne. John was a natural son of Peter I of Portugal. After his first victory over the Castilians, in the Battle of Atoleiros (April 1384), João of Aviz named Nuno Álvares Pereira Protector and second Constable of Portugal (Condestável do Reino), in practice supreme commander of Portugal’s armies, and third Count of Ourém. [3] He was only 24 years old.

Beatrice of Portugal Queen of Castile, Pretender Queen of Portugal

Beatrice was the only surviving legitimate child of King Ferdinand I of Portugal and his wife, Leonor Teles. She became Queen consort of Castile by marriage to King John I of Castile. Following her father's death without a legitimate male heir, she claimed the Portuguese throne, but lost her claim to her uncle, who became King John I of Portugal, founder of the House of Aviz.

John I of Castile King of Castille and Leon (1358-1390)

John I was king of the Crown of Castile from 1379 until 1390. He was the son of Henry II and of his wife Juana Manuel of Castile. He was the last monarch of Castile to receive a formal coronation.

John I of Portugal King of Portugal

John I, also called John of Aviz, was King of Portugal from 1385 until his death in 1433. He is recognized chiefly for his role in Portugal's victory in a succession war with Castile, preserving his country's independence and establishing the Aviz dynasty on the Portuguese throne. His long reign of 48 years, the most extensive of all Portuguese monarchs, saw the beginning of Portugal's overseas expansion. John's well-remembered reign in his country earned him the epithet of Fond Memory ; he was also referred to as "the Good", sometimes "the Great", and more rarely, especially in Spain, as "the Bastard" (Bastardo).

Nuno used guerilla tactics trying to dislodge the Castilian army besieging Lisbon in 1384 but plague finally drove them away. [4]

In April 1385, João of Aviz was recognized as king by the kingdom assembly (the Cortes ) as John I. This triggered an invasion of the country by Juan I of Castile, in support of his wife's rights to the throne. Nuno Álvares Pereira was engaged against the northern cities loyal to the Castilians. During this time of war, he fed the hungry populations of his Castilian opposition at his own expense. [3]

Portuguese Cortes

In the Medieval Kingdom of Portugal, the Cortes was an assembly of representatives of the estates of the realm - the nobility, clergy and bourgeoisie. It was called and dismissed by the King of Portugal at will, at a place of his choosing. Cortes which brought all three estates together are sometimes distinguished as Cortes-Gerais, in contrast to smaller assemblies which brought only one or two estates, to negotiate a specific point relevant only to them.

The Battle of Aljubarrota Batalha de Aljubarrota 02.jpg
The Battle of Aljubarrota

On 14 August 1385, at Aljubarrota he led 6,500 volunteers to victory against a Castilian force of over 30,000, thus ending the threat of annexation. He attributed the victory to the Blessed Virgin, whose name, Maria, was inscribed on his sword. [3] Dedicated to Mary, he fasted on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The banner he chose as his personal standard bore the image of the cross, of Mary and of the saintly knights James and George. At his own expense he built numerous churches and monasteries, among which was the Carmelite church in Lisbon and the church of Our Lady of Victories at Batalha. [2]

After the 1383-1385 Crisis, Álvares Pereira received from John I the titles of second Count of Arraiolos and seventh Count of Barcelos, which, along with the previous one, were the only three countdoms existing at the time and which had been taken from nobles who had taken the part of Castile. He was also made the 38th Mordomo-Mór (Major Majordomo) of the Realm.

Not wanting to give the enemy room to manoeuvre, John I and his supreme general took the offensive and raided several Castilian towns, defeating once again a much larger Castilian army at the Battle of Valverde. He continued to watch out for Juan I of Castile, until his death in 1390. When hostilities ended, he gave the bulk of his wealth to the veterans. [2]

Religious life

Statue of Nuno Alvares Pereira atop the portal of Santo Condestavel church, Lisbon SantoCondestavel 2008-2.jpg
Statue of Nuno Álvares Pereira atop the portal of Santo Condestável church, Lisbon

After the death of his wife, he became a Carmelite friar (he joined the Order in 1423) at the Carmo Convent (Lisbon) which he had founded in fulfilment of a vow, and took the name of Friar Nuno of Saint Mary (Portuguese : Frei Nuno de Santa Maria). There he lived until his death on Easter Sunday of 1431. He was noted for his prayer, his practise of penance and his filial devotion to the Mother of God. Nuno suffered from debilitating arthritis. [5]

During the last year of his life, King John I went to visit and embrace him for the last time. He wept for he considered Nuno Álvares Pereira his closest friend, the one who had put him on the throne and saved his country's independence.

Nuno Álvares Pereira's tomb was lost in the famous 1755 Lisbon earthquake. His epitaph read:

"Here lies that famous Nuno, the Constable, founder of the House of Bragança, excellent general, blessed monk, who during his life on earth so ardently desired the Kingdom of Heaven that after his death, he merited the eternal company of the Saints. His worldly honors were countless, but he turned his back on them. He was a great Prince, but he made himself a humble monk. He founded, built and endowed this church in which his body rests."

Veneration

Saint Nuno of Saint Mary
Sao nun'alvares pereira.jpg
Mystic
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified 23 January 1918, Vatican City by Pope Benedict XV
Canonized 26 April 2009, Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City by Pope Benedict XVI
Feast

Nuno was beatified on 23 January 1918 by Pope Benedict XV. He was celebrated liturgically on 1 April as an obligatory memorial by the Order of Carmelites and as an optional memorial by the Order of Discalced Carmelites.

He had been on the point of being canonised by decree in 1940 by Pope Pius XII. According to a recent statement by the postulator general of the Carmelite Order, his canonisation was postponed for diplomatic reasons (the Portuguese ambassador indicated that the time was not right). [6]

On 3 July 2008 Pope Benedict XVI signed two decrees in Rome, promulgating the heroic virtues of Nuno and the authenticity of a miracle that had already been previously confirmed as such by medical and theological commissions. By this act, the pope formally canonised Friar Nuno de Santa Maria Álvares Pereira. The public celebration of his canonisation took place on 26 April 2009 in Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican City. The Carmelites now celebrate St Nuno on 6 November; the date also appointed for his feast in Portugal.

Prayer

Lord God,
you called Saint Nuno Álvares Pereira
to put aside his sword and follow Christ
under the Patronage of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Through his prayers may we too deny ourselves,
and devote ourselves to you with all our hearts.
We ask this through Christ, Our Lord.

Legacy

Statue of Nuno Alvares Pereira on horseback in Batalha Statue of Nuno Alvares Pereira.jpg
Statue of Nuno Álvares Pereira on horseback in Batalha

The Blessed Nuno Society is a mission society and prayer apostolate officially recognized by the Catholic Church as a diocesan Private Association of the Christian Faithful and affiliated with, the Catholic Diocese of Duluth, Minnesota. [3]

Nuno Álvares Pereira had a daughter by his marriage to Leonor de Alvim, Beatriz Pereira de Alvim, who later became the wife of Afonso, first Duke of Braganza. Therefore, Nuno Álvares Pereira was, through the female line, the ancestor of the House of Braganza which became the Portuguese royal house in the 17th century, ruling the Kingdom of Portugal (1640–1910), the Kingdom of Brazil (1815–1822) and the Empire of Brazil (1822–1889).

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References

  1. 1 2 3 "St. Nuno Alvares Pereira, Religious (M)". THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF THE CARMELITE ORDER.
  2. 1 2 3 "Nuno De Santa Maria Álvares Pereira (1360-1431) - Biography". vatican.va.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "Biography of Blessed Nuno of St. Mary". blessednuno.org.
  4. "Insight Scoop - The Ignatius Press Blog". typepad.com.
  5. "The Canonization of Dom Nuno de Santa Maria Alvares Pereira". carmelitereview.org.
  6. Comments by the Postulator General Centrum Informationalis Totius Ordinis Carmelitorum (CITOC), No. 3 – May–June 2000 (English edition)]